England batted first on a flat pitch and were powered by a 160-run stand for the first wicket between centurion Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy. And despite a century from Rohit Sharma, India could only manage 306-5.
After the game, Kohli raised questions about the ‘random’ appearance of a 59-metre boundary in the World Cup. England’s batting – that had struggled against the main teams – came back into form on Sunday.
“The toss was vital, especially looking at the boundary that was quite short. I think it was 59 metres which coincidentally is the minimum required in an international match. It was quite bizarre on a flat pitch. It’s crazy that things fall in place like that randomly,” Kohli said.
The India skipper brought up the boundary issue again when asked why he did not go for the part-time spin of Kedar Jadhav when regular spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (0-88) and Kuldeep Yadav (1-71) were taken apart.
“If batsmen are able to reverse sweep you for six on a 59 metre boundary there is not much you can do. And one side was 82 metres. You can’t do much with a short boundary. I thought they were going towards 360 at one stage and we did quite well to pull them back. We could have restricted them more but Ben (Stokes) played a good innings. We were quite happy at the break,” Kohli added.
Kohli said it was England who played the better cricket in all departments and deserved the win.
“No one likes to lose but you have to accept the other side played better. The mood is absolutely same in the change room, we understand as professional cricketers it’s a setback. But we should have been clinical because the wicket was flat. We could have accelerated and got closer to their total.”
The India skipper was asked about the lack of intent shown by MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav in the final five overs when India needed 71 runs. The two took singles and twos when the required rate was 15. Kohli said it was just not their day.
“I think MS was trying really hard to get the boundary. They were just bowling good areas. We’ll have to sit down and assess and improve in the next game. We thought if we get a start we can get it but that didn’t happen. When (Rishabh) Pant and (Hardik) Pandya were in there we thought we had a decent chance. But England were better on the day.”
England reignited their World Cup campaign with a stirring victory over India, Jonny Bairstow letting his bat do the talking with a match-winning century at Edgbaston.
The stakes were impossibly high for the hosts after back-to-back defeats but Eoin Morgan’s side held their nerve in a 31-run success, ending India’s undefeated streak and reclaiming their own place in the top four.
Bairstow’s suggestion that critics were “waiting for us to fail” had been poorly received during the week but he repaid any lingering debt in style, striking 111 to set up an imposing 337 for seven.
Bairstow did not go into battle alone, fit-again opening partner Jason Roy setting the tone with an aggressive 66 and Ben Stokes making it three half-centuries in a row with his bustling 79, but his knock did the heaviest lifting.
Roared on by a hugely partisan crowd which flipped home advantage on its head, India needed luck and skill if they were to make a record World Cup chase and Rohit Sharma had both. Dropped at slip by Joe Root with just four to his name he went on to make 102.
But despite that England’s attack showed their mettle, Chris Woakes taking two wickets and a glorious boundary catch while Liam Plunkett justified his recall in place of Moeen Ali with three for 55 – including master batsman Virat Kohli.
At 146-2, India still needed almost 200 and the required rate leapt to precisely 10 with 15 overs remaining. Rohit was the man most likely to take a chunk out of that but fell to the first ball of Woakes’ second spell, Buttler closing his gloves around a simple chance.
Rishabh Pant and Pandya both breathed life into the fading pursuit before succumbing to Plunkett, Pant to a quite incredible Woakes catch.
Motoring round the rope he made brilliant ground but still needed a diving finish to seal Pant’s fate. Even the master finisher Mahendra Singh Dhoni had too much to do, mustering 42 not out in a doomed cause.
England may not need to see off New Zealand at Chester-le-Street to seal a semi-final place but they go into their last group game knowing nobody can stop them if they do.
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Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz said his team is only drawing inspiration from their 1992 World Cup triumph and not looking too much into the similarities between that campaign and their run in the 2019 edition.
Imran Khan led Pakistan to their first and only World Cup title 27 years ago and that very pattern of wins, losses and washouts has been followed by the Men in Green this year, raising hopes of an incredible title run.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s team looked down and almost out after a heavy defeat to India but have bounced back with three successive wins.
Riaz was the star of the show in their latest win over Afghanistan, picking up 2-29 before hitting a critical 15 with the bat.
Asked if the team is following the 1992 path, Riaz was quoted by AFP as saying: “We don’t really talk about 1992 that much.
“The turnaround is due to the motivation and the ambition of the team to win this World Cup. Everybody is giving their 100 per cent”
Young left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi has taken seven wickets in his team’s last three wins and Wahab wass all praise for the 19-year-old.
“Shaheen was under pressure after his first game against Australia but he has come back and taken some important wickets for us,” Riaz said.
“(Mohammad) Amir we already know is one of the best bowlers in the world who swings the ball both ways. That puts pressure on the batsmen to play him. It’s a good combination right now, we are trying to take wickets and that is putting the team in a great position.”